Within the UK around 6% of the whole population has diabetes.
That’s quite a lot for just one medical condition! Roughly 3.5 million people in fact, across England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
So even if you don’t have diabetes, the chances are you will be be around someone who does soon enough…
Think of it like this: At the next friendly gathering you attend, 1 in every 16 people at that party may be diabetic.
The condition can be challenging, with some needing to check their blood sugar levels, receive insulin jabs, or be mindful of the foods they’re eating.
So to help you in your next meeting with a diabetic, we found out the 10 things people with diabetes want you to know!
It can be a lot of work!
“Diabetes is like having a second job. Where you have to work 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Without a break or pay. For the rest of your life.” – Diabetes UK blog
You don’t get type 1 diabetes from “eating too much sugar”
“No, it’s not because I ate too much sugar as a kid, and yes, I can still eat that bit of cake. I can eat anything I want, and I can do pretty much what I want when I want to do it – my T1 doesn’t hold me back in any way. It’s a lot more than just taking a couple of insulin injections though – there’s a lot more to it.” – Connor McHarg
It can be overwhelming at times
“And that’s okay…but it’s important that the people closest to you know what to do during these times. ALWAYS surround yourself with good people – whether they have diabetes or not – who care and are there to help you to get back on to your feet when you feel like hibernating.” – Diabetes UK blog
New diabetic “toys” can be exciting
“A new blood sugar reader is called, “The Freestyle Libre” and works in my mind like a medical Oyster Card. You very easily, very speedily, and very painlessly insert a small sensor under your arm which pushes a little flexible filament into your skin and stays there for 14 days. You switch on the accompanying reader with one press of a button, swipe (or ‘flash) it under your arm and bingo, it takes a reading. In one second. No blood, no finger pricking, no waiting, no messing. I felt like I’d unlocked the Matrix.” – MissJenGrieves
Having an invisible illness is tough sometimes
“The psychological aspects of diabetes are very difficult to explain to people, again because they can’t see any physical symptoms so therefore there can’t be anything ‘wrong’…It can make you feel cheated and frustrated for the life you might have had. However, I can’t imagine life without diabetes now; it’s part of me, but it’s certainly not the whole picture.” – Mel Stephenson
I can still have fun and exercise
“I am a recreational triathlete and regularly do prolonged stints of exercise, and although it takes a little bit of careful planning and forethought, I am just as capable at exercise and body-stressing behaviours as someone without type 1 diabetes.” – Adam Gorrill
We can still travel – and we do
“I had an unforgettable experience [trekking Mont Blanc with a team of 6 type 1 diabetics]. Everything was great and awesome: the atmosphere, the scenaries, the weather, the peer support, the friendship … our laughs! We never left our Diabetes win!” – Eloise.
Diabetics have rights when travelling
“I wish I had known that I had options when it came to travelling with diabetes. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to put my insulin pump in my purse when I go through security. It’s okay for me to wear it as I pass through the metal detector. I can opt out of conventional screening and ask for a pat down. I can also decide to buck the whole system and go back to injections while I travel. The choice is MINE. And it took me a long time to realize my rights as a traveling PWD.”- Sixuntilme
Fear of flying can trigger anxiety and blood sugar
“My blood sugar would respond to my flight anxiety, and I needed to find ways to manage that anxiety in a healthy way. I should have brought yarn on the plane with me years ago. It does wonders for my mindset and now I have better blood sugars and a collection of wonky scarves to give away to flight attendants at the close of my flight.” – Sixuntilme
Diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back!
“Remember that everything is still achievable. Diabetes should never hold you back in life and if anything it’ll actually make you a better and stronger person in the long run – trust me, I’m a diabetic!” –Diabetes UK blog
The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.